During a meeting with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, Putin made the statement at the Kremlin.
BEIJING – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will soon visit Russia, as the two countries’ relations have reached “new frontiers.” The announcement comes amid concerns from the US that China could provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including weapons supplies that could escalate the conflict into a confrontation between Russia and China on one side and Ukraine and the US-led NATO military alliance on the other.
Growing Bilateral Trade
During the meeting, Putin told Wang that bilateral trade between Russia and China was better than expected and could soon reach RM910.76 billion a year, up from RM842.45 billion in 2022. Wang stated that relations between the two countries have withstood the pressure from a volatile international situation, and crises offered certain opportunities. He further clarified that the relationship between China and Russia was not directed against any third party but equally would not succumb to pressure from third parties – a clear jab at the United States.
No Limits Partnership
When Xi met Putin just before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, they sealed a “no limits” partnership that triggered anxiety in the West. China is Russia’s largest buyer of oil, one of the key sources of revenues for Moscow’s state coffers. For Putin, China’s big-power support amid the biggest confrontation with the West since the height of the Cold War allows him to cast Russia’s isolation in the West as a tilt towards Asia. For Xi, Russia is now more dependent on China than ever. Once the leader in the global Communist hierarchy, Russia after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union is now a junior partner to a resurgent China that already leads in many 21st-century technologies.
US Concerns Over Chinese Support
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Wang of consequences should China provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that Washington was concerned Beijing was considering supplying weapons to Moscow. Beijing has denied providing military support to Russia. However, China stated that the United States was in no position to make demands, and Wang promised to “strengthen and deepen” relations between Moscow and Beijing.
Positive Trend in the Development of Relations Between Major Powers
According to Wang, China remains committed to preserving the positive trend in developing relations between major powers, together with Russia. Xi has stood by Putin during the conflict in Ukraine, resisting Western pressure to isolate Moscow. Chinese-Russian trade has soared since the invasion of Ukraine, and Russia has boosted oil exports to Asian countries, including China. The upcoming visit by Xi to Russia is expected to solidify the two countries’ alliance further. – Reuters